Mithril Capital, a venture capital firm co-founded by Peter Thiel, is fielding questions from the FBI following a complaint by a former employee, said a person familiar with the inquiry who asked not to be identified.
The FBI has questioned people close to Mithril Capital in recent months regarding possible financial misconduct at the firm, according to technology website Recode, which earlier reported the inquiry. Austin, Texas-based Mithril Capital has roughly $1.2 billion under management and holds stakes in more than a dozen technology companies, including Palantir Technologies Inc., which was also started by Thiel.
A Mithril Capital spokesman said the venture capital firm’s attorneys have been in contact with authorities and that it’s seeking to protect its backers, employees and investments from “extortionate behavior.” He said there are no allegations of wrongdoing from a government agency or investors. “This is a foiled plot by a self-serving ex-employee,” the spokesman said.
A spokesman for Thiel didn’t respond to a request for comment.
The FBI has a policy of not confirming or commenting on possible investigations.
Thiel and a longtime associate, Ajay Royan, started Mithril Capital in 2012. The firm has been slowly deploying funds to start-ups, and its workforce has shrunk in recent months. Crystal McKellar, a managing director, and Jim O’Neill, the life sciences managing director who President Trump once considered to head the Food and Drug Administration, were among the departures.
Royan remains at Mithril Capital, as does his sister, Anuja Royan, who has served as chief financial officer, Recode reported.